I had the rather fortunate pleasure of interviewing Chap-Hop pioneer Mr B the Gentleman Rhymer. For those of you not familiar, he’s a B-Boy banjolele playing gentleman who has a taste for the finer things in life.
Tell me about Chap-Hop.
With Chap-Hop I am reconnecting Hip-Hop to the queen’s English and manners.
Why did you choose the banjolele?
The banjolele has a more abrasive, more amusing sound than the uke, more suitable for funky licks and what-not.
How long have you been dabbling in the dark art of banjolele flaling?
Crikey, probably nearly a decade now.
What make is your banjolele and how did you come about it?
It’s an Ashbury, I’d rather not talk about buying it as I managed to talk myself into paying £100 more for it than the proprietor had advertised. Fool I am!
Ever dabble with a normal ukulele?
Oh yes, I enjoy playing ballads on my uke and it’s a more convenient travelling companion, but I think the banjolele has a little more impact on stage.
What tips do you have for all the wannabe Ladies and Gentleman reading this?
Just take a look at yourself in the miror for a second or two longer than you usually would and ask yourself ‘should I really be wearing this sweatshirt?’. Then buy a pipe and a ukulele. The only advice I have for the ladies is come and see my next show!
George Formby or Chuck D both have impressive verbal flow but who’s better?
Chuck has superior lyrical flow, but George is a better banjolele player.
Any favourite ukulele/banjolele songs?
Lust For Life by Iggy Pop was written by David Bowie on a ukulele. That turned out ok.
The youth of today – what does Mr B think?
They’re all far too young.
Who are your role models?
Anthony Aloysious St.John Hancock, Chuck D (or Charles Dance as he’s otherwise known).
What does Mr B do in his spare time?
Depending on which way you look at it, I either have no spare time at all or all of my time is spare………I’ve just got an allotment though, might have a look at that for a bit.
Any other musical instruments?
Indeed. I have just begun to incorporate the soprano trombone into my act, another small, amusing instrument. I do play a fair few though, double bass, guitar, piano, drums. You name it I’ll have a bash!
Crikey, so many…do have a look at www.Gentlemanrhymer.com and have a look at the list.
Flattery not included – any plans for a follow up?
Yes indeed, I am in the process of polishing off long-player number two as we speak. Some of the ditties can already be heard in the live show.
Who is Timothy?
Westwood. Lanky middle aged b-boy type. Lovely old cove really, but a tad misguided bless him.
Tweed is such a versatile fabric that one is always finding a new favourite. One needn’t look any further than a bit of Harris though. That said, I don’t wish to do down my chums in Donegal either. It’s all ruddy marvelous. I recently pushed the boat out style wise and bought a jacket in electric blue with a yellow and navy check. Splendid!
I am partial to a good white port I must say.
Lapsang souchong of course.
What’s next for Mr B?
Finish off album number two then world domination should do the trick, eh?
Pip pip, indeed. Here’s a video if you’re curious about the finer details of Chap-Hop.